Sue first knew at age 12 or 13 that she would be surrounded by gay men for eternity while performing as one of the Hollywood Blondes in a production of Gypsy at a community theater in suburban Madison, NJ. None of the farm boys would return her advances, and her crushes persisted. Ever since, her circle of LGBT colleagues, partners, and friends has flourished and enriched her life in countless ways. It is in their honor, that Swish was created in 2003 – to involve the straight community in the LGBT rights movement, to celebrate the contributions the LGBT community makes to the world, and to fight so that love is equal, everywhere. Sue has spent her entire professional career developing non-profit organizations in the NYC metro area, and started her own non-profit consulting practice in 2007. Her company provides fundraising, strategic planning, and communications services to organizations that serve the mentally ill, homeless, low-income youth and families, and LGBT people. For Sue, Swish is a public and political expression of her love for the LGBT people in her life – living and angelic. She lives in the beautiful Astoria, Queens neighborhood in New York City. She says, "I Swish because young LGBT people deserve to grow up in a world knowing that they are loved and celebrated.”
“Swish for me is more than a bunch of friends on a kitschy float wheeling down Fifth Avenue. It is a symbol of unity and love and joy of life. It celebrates the simple truth that befriending difference is a key ingredient to the evolution of our world.” Jason has been committed to Swish’s growth since its founding and has generously contributed to its success in bringing straight people into the gay rights movement. Over the years, he has organized numerous events and fundraisers to support Swish and represented the organization at EuroPride 2008 in Stockholm. One of his personal goals is to start a mentorship program where Swish engages younger generations into forming gay-straight alliances in their hometowns. Jason is the director of NYC’s acclaimed Fountain Gallery, the premier exhibition space for artists living and working with mental illness. Since 2003, he has expanded its operation, which represents a core group of 40 artists and exhibits the work of emerging and self-taught artists from around the world. Jason is currently obtaining a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Columbia University.
Jamie has been a true-blue Swish girl since the age of 10, although she didn’t know it at the time, when she met and fell madly in love with her church pastor, whose charming, gentle, and monastic demeanor (unsuccessfully) masked a fabulous diva-bitch personality longing to break free. His death from AIDS in 1987 devastated her, and perhaps stirred the first flickering flames of homo-worship. Eight years later, her best friend came roaring out of the closet with a vengeance and started her on an unforgettable journey, a whirlwind of love, joy, and celebration of some of the most amazing people she’s ever had the pleasure to know. Jamie has worked as a department administrator at New York University since 2001, is currently pursuing a degree in Media Studies, and is training for her first half-marathon this year. She lives, loves and loiters in Brooklyn, and is blessed with a five-room apartment of her very own and three of her best friends, all gay, all fierce, and all her big brothers, scant blocks away. Jamie is also blessed and proud to be on the Swish board, and to have helped crystallize and implement its mission of uniting the straight and LGBT communities in pursuit of full, unwavering equality for all. She says, “I Swish because the LGBT movement is on fire, and I want to be the accelerant.”
Adrienne's and Sue's lives crossed in the professional fundraising world and before long Adrienne was hooked into the LGBT community. Passionate about equal rights and education, Adrienne has spent her entire career in fundraising and is currently the Assistant Dean for Development and External Relations at the UC Davis School of Education. Since 1998, Adrienne has raised more than $30 million for a variety of causes, including at-risk youth, mental health, and higher education in Virginia, New York, and California. A certified fund raising executive (CFRE) since 2004, Adrienne has edited and contributed chapters in The Nonprofit Guide to Going Green (2010) and Internet Management for Nonprofits (2010), and speaks and writes articles for many non-profit and higher education groups. She has served on the Board of Swish since 2004 and became Treasurer in 2008. Adrienne jumped to the "Left Coast" in 2007 where she lives in Davis, CA with her boyfriend of 14 years who is a PhD candidate in Physics at UC Davis. She maintains a food blog, Vegetarianized.com, gardens, writes for local/regional food publications and teaches cooking classes. Adrienne says, "I Swish because I want marriage to be a free and equal right for all, and I pledge not to get married until all 50 states make it gay marriage legal."
As an entrepreneur and educator, Ny Whitaker advises Executives and Board Members of both non-profit organizations and Fortune 500 corporations. Her innovative strategies help them to develop as well as finance initiatives that are transforming our communities. From the Magic Johnson Foundation to Charter Schools; from Wall Street to the United Nations; Ny has produced projects and events that have generated millions of dollars for causes across the country. Ny started her own consulting in 1998 and is also a member of the Marketing Faculty at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies where she teaches events marketing and corporate sponsorship courses. A former Board member of the ISES NY Metro Chapter and member of MPI, Ny serves as the Development Chair on the Board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Ny recently worked with Obama for America’s New York Office on the President’s reelection campaign.